The School is saddened by the death of Grant Strate. A great instigator, motivator, and advocate, Grant leaves a tremendous legacy in Canadian dance. He was a charter member of the National Ballet of Canada, and its first resident choreographer. Miriam Adams, of Dance Collection Danse, knew him well working alongside him at the National Ballet and the Dance in Canada Association. After he left the National Ballet, Grant founded Canada’s first university dance program at York University. He was Chair of the Dance Department during Patricia Fraser’s B.F.A. studies there, and encouraged the fledgling Dancemakers company, which began at York, as they took their first professional steps. Grant helped to create the Dance in Canada Association, and initiated the hugely influential National Choreographic Seminars – truly inspiring and life-changing experiences for many of Canada’s most notable choreographers who went through the intensive and revelatory sessions. Grant went on to chair the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, and was President of the World Dance Alliance – Americas.
Profoundly influenced by Grant, Pat Fraser was particularly inspired by one of his eight statements of
belief (as articulated in Selma Landen Odom and Mary Jane Warner’s Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories).
- Dancers should prepare to build their own spheres of activity and not wait to be discovered. They should assume responsibility for the evolution of the art form and should be encouraged to become masters of their own fate.
Strate felt that the combination of technique training, creative practice, the broader education of a university setting, and the encouragement to take responsibility for forging one’s own way would prepare dancers to do anything.
The School extends our condolences to Grant’s many friends and colleagues, not only in Vancouver, where he spent the past thirty years, but around the world.